Up for the cup? Football clubs urged to move to returnable drinks containers
By Emily Beament, PA Environment Correspondent
Football clubs are being urged to adopt returnable cups at their stadiums to cut plastic waste, in a move which campaigners say is supported by fans.
Friends of the Earth and the British Association for Sustainable Sport (Basis) are calling on teams to make the shift to help get rid of millions of unnecessary single-use plastic beer and cold drinks cups handed out at venues each year.
More than six million single-use plastic beer cups may have used in the Premier League last season alone, Friends of the Earth estimates.
Some clubs are already making the move, with Manchester City introducing a stadium-wide returnable cup scheme last month which it estimates will help remove an average of 29,000 single-use plastic cups per match.
Arsenal also introduced a reusable cup scheme with the local Camden Town Brewery at the beginning of this season following a successful trial period last year.
Similar schemes have been operating at cricket venues, such as Lord's and The Oval, and Twickenham rugby stadium for several years, while football clubs including Chelsea, West Ham and Fulham have also trialled a scheme.
And polling suggests the switch would be popular with football fans, the green group said, with 84% of those quizzed in a survey agreeing that Premier League clubs should ensure reusable or returnable cups are used in their grounds.
Football clubs in the top four divisions are being urged to sign up to Friends of the Earth's plastic pledge to replace single-use cups with reusable ones, as well as removing non-essential single-use plastic straws, bags and cutlery.
The pledge would also see efforts to make sure fans can easily access drinking water through fountains and refilling reusable bottles.
Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner Julian Kirby said: "Football clubs across the UK should aim to be champions off the pitch, as well as on it, by giving single-use plastic the boot.
"Fans want football clubs to take action on plastic."
He said a number of teams were already taking action - but every Premier and Football League club needed to do what it could to get rid of single-use plastic.
"A reusable cup scheme is one of the key steps clubs can take - this measure alone would prevent millions of single-use plastic cups being landfilled or incinerated every season.
"We hope every football club is up for the cup."
Russell Seymour, chief executive of Basis, said: "The impacts of plastic waste and pollution are one of the most important environmental issues of our time and we are happy to work with Friends of the Earth and the sport of football to reduce these impacts."